The Wagoners Abroad are an American family of four that decided to declutter their lives, uproot themselves and make international travel a priority. Here they discuss their latest travel adventure, house sitting in Kuala Lumpur.
First of all can you describe the house sit?
Our current house sit is in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Our main responsibilities are taking care of the owner’s dog, cat, and koi fish. Other than throwing a major party every night (an inside joke with the homeowners), we make sure everything thing stays copacetic with the house. 🙂 There are many people that come to the property during the week, housekeeper, gardener and pool guy, so we make sure they come and go as scheduled.
Where did you find this house sitting assignment?
(If you used a house sitting site feel free to mention it here. I’m hoping this question will help give some guidance on which sites are the most active. )
TrustedHousesitters was how we found this house sit. We’ve had good luck with them. We have a daily email alert set up for the countries of interest to us and keep an eye out for the perfect sit. We of course are a family of 4, so this narrows the playing field a bit. There are many specifically looking for a family, such as the sit we are currently on.
What was the process for finding (and applying for the house sit)?
We get notified of house sitting based on where we are planning to locate. In this case, we knew we were going to be in KL, so it was a great fit for our schedule. There was an initial email conversation, within the Trusted Housesitters site, and the owners then wanted to have a “face-to-face” using Skype.
There was the initial bout of emails, the Skype video call, and then more follow-up emails. It wasn’t a lot of communication.
Why do you think you were picked over any other sitters that applied?
Our winning personality, and I look like George Clooney **. They said it was our comment in our original application that drew them to us. They had posted a photo of Luke (dog) and Lucky (cat) and we made mention of them matching and looking good together. It was a genuine comment about their pets and that made it personal.
I think what also worked in our favor was that the homeowners were looking for a family. Some homeowners either do not have room for four people, or prefer not to have families. In this case, it worked out well for both of us.
We also genuinely like cats and dogs, so that’s a bonus! As previous pet owners, we have experience with pets, and all of the work and attention they need. As former homeowners, we’re aware of the responsibility of taking care of a residence, and looking out for the homeowner’s best interests while they’re away.
** I look nothing like George Clooney.
What did you see and do while you were in Kaula Lumpur?
We did the Hop-On Hop-Off city bus tour to get a feel for KL. The biggest thing we’ve done so far (we’re still in KL) was visiting the Petronas Twin Towers. It was an amazing tour. The home owners left us a car and their train passes to use as well. We still have another week to go explore, so we will likely visit the Batu Caves and perhaps the waterpark.
Had you planned on visiting Kaula Lumpur prior to finding out about this house sit?
Yes. We have been traveling throughout Southeast Asia the past 9 months, and Malaysia, and Kuala Lumpur in particular was always on our radar. Thus, we were on the look out for sits in the area.
Do you think house sitting gave you a unique perspective on where you were staying, that you wouldn’t have gotten from say staying in a hotel?
Absolutely. Living life as a “local” is a great way to experience an area. Obviously, the definition of a local differs a bit if you’re living in the middle of a big city, or out in the suburbs. For us, house sits are a great way to recharge our batteries. Traveling 24/7 takes its toll, so having a place to just relax helps to keep us a civilized family.
It’s nice to be able to do your own cooking. Having a kitchen, or an area to cook those family favorites is something that you don’t get staying in a hotel. On our day of arrival, the homeowners had a little welcome party for us. They invited the neighbors on either side as well as across the street over for a drink. We were able to meet everyone and feel comfortable reaching out to them, if any need arose. We sometimes see the neighbors out and about and they check to see if we need anything. That was a very nice touch.
What memories will you take away from this house sit?
Definitely the animals. Both of our kids, and especially our daughter has fallen in love with the pets, Luke and Lucky. We’ve also found some kindred spirits in the homeowners. They’re great people, and our expectation is that we’ll stay in touch.
Heidi and Alan Wagoner are passionate about travel (50+ countries) and both authors of the popular travel blog Wagoners Abroad. In Aug 2012, they left the “perfect American life”. They quit their jobs, sold their belongings and moved to Southern Spain, with their 2 kids (Lars and Anya). After nearly 2 years in Spain, they have become nomadic and are exploring Southeast Asia for a year. They are a true source of inspiration and proof you can make your dreams come true. Follow them on Facebook, or many of the other social media channels.